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1997 BMW Z07 Concept Car

The 1997 BMW Z07 Concept Car, originally conceived as a styling exercise reminiscent of the iconic 1956-1959 BMW 507, made its debut at the Tokyo Auto Show in 1997. This concept car garnered significant attention, leading BMW to develop a limited production model known as the Z8. The Z07 Concept showcased design cues inspired by the classic 507 but presented in a larger form factor.

Designed under Chris Bangle's leadership, the exterior styling of the Z07 Concept was primarily the work of Henrik Fisker, a notable automobile designer known for his innovative designs. Fisker aimed to create a modern interpretation of the elegant BMW 507 of the 1950s, featuring a long hood, short rear deck, and distinctive double-bubble roof. The result was a visually stunning concept car that captured the essence of classic sports car design while incorporating contemporary elements.

The interior of the Z07 Concept exuded a nostalgic charm reminiscent of the ragtop sports cars popularized by icons like Elvis Presley and Steve McQueen. The dashboard featured a painted plastic panel reminiscent of vintage metal dashboards, while the three-spoke steering wheel and centrally located gauges added to the retro-inspired aesthetic.

Despite being initially conceived as a concept car, the Z07 was designed with production in mind, requiring minimal changes to transition from concept to road-ready vehicle. However, one notable alteration was the removal of the double-bubble roof, a beloved detail of the concept. Nonetheless, the final production model, the BMW Z8, retained much of the Z07's design language and aesthetic appeal.

Powered by a 4.9-liter V8 engine sourced from the E39 M5, paired with a six-speed manual transmission, the Z07 boasted impressive performance figures. When transformed into the Z8 for production, it could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in 13 seconds, outperforming rivals like the Ferrari 360 Spider.

Despite its production limitations, with only 5,703 units built, the BMW Z8 became highly sought after by collectors, reflecting the success of the Z07 Concept in capturing the imagination of automotive enthusiasts. The Z8's legacy as one of BMW's most desirable and collectible models can be traced back to its roots in the Z07 Concept, showcasing BMW's ability to turn visionary concepts into reality.

Source: BMW